Like milk to a good cup of tea, a visually strong photograph is essential to accompany any press release that hopes to be published in the media. A photocall is an opportunity for the journalist to attend an event to take photos to accompany their story, and it also offers an opportune moment for them to gain any interviews that they may need.

Putting together a photo call is like writing a party invitation, only more formal, and much less ‘BYOB’. There needs to be clear information about what the event will entail, where, and who will be attending, as well as a clear itinerary setting out the order of proceedings, and a set time for photo opportunities. Ideally these will be at the very beginning of the event before the important guests filter off or the crowds disperse. At the same time, the photographer isn’t going to want to hang about, so make life easy for them where possible.

Securing the perfect shot isn’t easy, so where possible have a clear idea of the photos that will work well – talk to the photographer beforehand about these and the best ways to set them up. Images taken outside or against a bright backdrop work well, but directing animals or small children can be tricky.

Your images need to be striking and tell a story, so it’s best to have something interesting going on in them, such as a balloon release or a pose with a celebrity. Alternatively, you could try the emotive angle, such as children stood by a favourite playground that has been vandalised. Try to avoid the cliché of a cheque presentation – try to make the ideas original, try presenting the monetary figure on a cake instead.

Like any party, there’s bound to be people who have promised to make an appearance but don’t show up, so have a contingency in place. Always make sure you have a fully charged camera on hand to take the photos that otherwise would have been taken by the photographer, and send these out to the press instead, along with the full press release.